A special feature of the school is its intimacy with all the children on one site and the opportunity to share experiences, celebrate and be together in assemblies.
A key component to nurturing a sense of togetherness, shared values and community are the regular assemblies held in the School Hall following morning registration and before lessons commence. The school aims for its assemblies to be as accessible as possible to members of all faiths or none.
We have a whole school assembly on Monday to start the week. A hymn is sung, followed by a presentation and a prayer which affords the children time to reflect upon an issue of significance to the community as a whole or one which will extend spiritual or moral awareness. General notices are given out. Every Friday we have our celebration assembly to recognise those individuals and teams who have achieved something special over the week. The school collectively sings ‘Happy Birthday’ to children and staff celebrating their birthday within that week, the house point tally is announced by house captains, commendations read out and a whole host of certificates and praise distributed.
Assemblies are led by the Headmaster, the School Chaplain, members of the teaching staff or visiting speakers. The pupils themselves, notably those in Year 6, frequently present to the peers, whether it be the charity monitors about a new initiative or the Chatterbox magazine team advertising a new competition or edition.
Once a year, each class prepares an assembly for the School and class parents. Every term we also have a Language Assembly when those children with links to a particular country, culture and language present to their peers and parents. Our musical ensembles also use assemblies to share and celebrate their music making with the wider school.
Once a week, the Infants have an assembly on their own whilst older children in the Juniors enjoy 'Our Time' with their Form Teachers. ‘Our Time' sessions give regular opportunities for classes to explore issues of common concern, reflect upon our Learning Dispositions and to build trust and confidence in each other. They might also explore some common themes to support our PSHE curriculum.
House assemblies are organised throughout the term. This is a time for House Tutors to see their House and organise activities where all children of different ages can participate.
Every Tuesday morning the whole school has a session of DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) when the children, within their classes and with all the staff joining in, have a period to read and celebrate books, whether it be through individual reading, in pairs or small groups.
In the Advent term, a week of assemblies is given over to ‘Book Week' themes. Other themed weeks may also provide the impetus for assemblies through the year.
This pattern of assemblies provides the school community with a quiet contemplative and shared start to the day. It gives a forum for communication across the community and a pause for reflection before the day starts.
Each year we host several services at our local church of St Barnabas to which all parents are invited. Year 4 lead our Harvest Festival and then the choirs and readers play a key role in the Christmas Carol Service. Year 5 lead our reflections at the Spring Service and then, at the end of the academic year, Year 6 lead a Leavers' Service at Christ’s Chapel in Dulwich Village.